"Noah" In Iceland
Finding a location for the pre-flood world of "Noah" might have been a
challenge - but early on, Darren Aronofsky happened upon a landscape that
resonated on a vacation to Iceland. Though Iceland might seem the last place one
would think of for a biblical epic, it was the fact that the landscape felt so
new and full of life that attracted him. "As I was driving around I was thinking
wow, this is a great landscape for 'Noah.' It has the feeling of a primordial
earth because you can see the heat and steam coming out of the ground,"
Scott Franklin also became smitten with the terrain. "We didn't want to use
the stereotypical yellow sand of old epics - we wanted something different," he
notes. "Iceland presented itself with these incredibly beautiful, dark, barren
landscapes made out of lava - but then you could drive twenty minutes and be in
an amazing, lush, waterfall-filled, valley that could represent Eden. We scouted
other places but no landscapes proved as fruitful."
In Iceland, Mark Friedberg helped bring to life a sin-corrupted human society
bent on destructiveness. "Our 'Noah' takes place in a decimated landscape where
the cities have failed, people are foraging for survival, and the sin is not
against one another, but against Creation itself," he explains of the concept.
This idea also led to the design of Tubal-cain's chaotic camp overlooking
Noah constructing the Ark. "Tubal-cain hears of this man who has built this
giant fortress - and then he realizes what it is," Friedberg explains. "His
followers start flocking from all over the world, as they have also heard that
the end is upon them. His camp is therefore made up of the remnants of unraveled
cities - with old billboards and banners making up the tents."
While shooting in the natural landscapes of Iceland, Aronofsky collaborated
closely with cinematographer Matthew Libatique. They utilized the latest
technology, including the suspended Spydercam and zip-line CableCam, to capture
the most sweeping scope, yet also employed intimate, hand held cameras to bring
the audience in closer. Some of the most intense action sequences involve
hundreds of soldiers and refugees running for their lives toward the ark. "Those
battle scenes at night were intense," says Scott Franklin. "The extras that we
cast in New York were fantastic, and the stunt men did an incredible job."
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